As a 25-year war between Russia and Sweden concludes, two brothers who are part of an effort to outline new border accords become undone by their actions, and their mistreatment of a young woman during their journey.
The Russo-Swedish War (1590-1595) has just ended, and new borders are drawn between Finland (under Swedish rule) and the Tsardom of Russia. Brothers Knut and Eerik are tasked with marking the border. They discover a mysterious village, built in the middle of a swamp. Within the village is a sauna, and the brothers hope it may wash away their sins.Written by
The word 'Poika' means 'Boy' in Finnish. However, the character 'Poika' is played by a girl 'Sonja Petäjäjärvi'. See more »
Modern day fillings are visible in the mouth of one character. See more »
[Eerik just brutally killed a man with a knife]
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Horror Movie, not quite
If someone told me "hey, watch this movie about a haunted sauna, its a really scary horror movie!".. I guess I'd stay as far away from the movie as possible. Luckily I saw some pictures of this Finnish movie and they looked really great.
Everyone looking for a horror movie should stay away from this. Its pretty laughable that so many people focus on the sauna and some ghosts in this movie as typical horror clichés while the director works so obviously on making every single piece and image in this movie a symbol for guilt.
"Sauna" or "Filth" (which is the far more fitting title referring to a statement by one of the Russian soldiers in this movie) is placed after the Russian/Swedish war around 1600 when a group of Russian and Swedish soldiers are setting for the new borders. The opening of the movie with the drawing of borders in blood and then the first shots of water turning red already indicate where this movie is going. Everything is carried by some great cinematography and the lead characters, 2 brothers of a very different kind. One is Knut, a mapmaker with high goals, the other is Erik, a soldier with a grim past who has his problems adjusting to the new peace.
Erik constantly looking for trouble soon gets the group of soldiers into problems when messing with a family. The town the group soon finds in the middle of a swamp becomes a clear symbol of Erics previous atrocities with as many inhabitants as victims on Erics list, a strange girl reminding them of recent wrongdoings (also involving a sauna) and animals and people who clawed out their eyes. The whole issue of not being able to face your past is present throughout the movie that is more like a fable. There is plenty of interesting historical information as well as philosophical dialog including the story about the king and filth or the thoughts if hell is just a place that god turned his back on. The place is soon presented and the irony is that yet everyone is fighting for the land soon there is a place that no one wants to take but rather wants to give to his enemy.
"Sauna" is full of these abstract images and the finale is far from a clear resolution. After all the director clearly tries to make the viewer have his own thoughts. Actually I am still working on figuring the closing images out but however this is a damn interesting and different movie with great cinematography, acting and an interesting setting. There sure are some horror elements in this movie, but I'd rather consider this a mix of art-house movie and drama and its definitely worth giving a chance.
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